For both visitors and residents, Mysuru offers a lot on the must-visit list. But then there are days when you want to sit back and watch the world go by. And for those evenings, no other place that matches the old-world charm of the alfresco restaurant at The Green Hotel. Housed in the sprawling front yard of this beautiful hotel that seems to have been caught in a time warp, everything here moves at a pace unbeknownst in a dog-eat-dog world. Our weekend tipples almost ended with the Supreme Court order banning liquor on highways. But The Green Hotel, which was a palace once, has a history of surviving tragedies. And when we got our Kingfisher Ultra with not so much as a whimper from the staff, we knew the hotel has survived this too.
The hotel beckons a dekho primarily for its traditional architecture. With tables lined on either side of an open courtyard and Athangudi (Chettinad) floor tiles, the cafe supplies its freshly baked cakes and breads to stores across Mysuru, and is one of the few places in the city that bakes multigrain and other varieties of breads. But it is the rustic charm and artisan quality of the pies, quiches and a variety of cakes that Malgudi Cafe has earned its reputation for, something that no other cafe in the city has been able to outdo. The bakes are far from the soft, melt-in-the-mouth variety; they are often crumbly and may not hold together beyond the first two insertions of a greedy spoon. Had with the original filter coffee served here, they truly make a deadly pair. Of the cakes, I would wholeheartedly recommend the carrot cake and brownie. Apart from these items, burgers and sandwiches are offered here on weekends.
Weaving a Story
To take you through the history, this beautiful building was once a palace called Chitranjan Palace and was occupied by one of the members of the royal family. In 1954, the mini Mahal was taken over by late Basavarajaiah to convert it to a film studio. The Premier Studios reigned the South Indian film industry until a devastating fire in 1991 on the sets of the period drama The Sword of Tipu Sultan gutted the outer wing of the building, killing many people and injuring actor Sanjay Khan. This human tragedy almost sealed the fate of the building. In 1992, a charity entrepreneur from London fell in love with the building and decided to extend her charity work to its premise. Dame Hillary Blume converted the palace into a hotel with 31 rooms, a restaurant and a cafe. Seven rooms housed in the main building which was the palace, are mostly suites and maintain the royal charm with antique furniture and upholsteries. All the profit that the hotel makes goes to the charities that Blume has chosen.
Another highlight of the hotel is its greenness. Living up to its name, the hotel has a policy that everything from the furniture to cutlery is eco-friendly. All the staff employed here are poor and women staff are mostly widows who needed the jobs to support their families.
Blume had taken the property on a 30-year-lease which expires in eight years. Head to The Green Hotel if you want to live like a maharaja for a day. “With no a/c, no TV because that’s how maharajas lived,” pipes in D’souza goodnaturedly.
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